Phoenix help for students: A Back-to-School Lesson for the Federal Government

This month Canadian university, college and high school students return to classes, many of them to pursue studies towards a profession. Some of these students worked for the federal government over the summer, and like many other federal public service employees were seriously impacted by the problems afflicting the Phoenix pay system.

Early last month, PIPSC offered its assistance to these students, providing guidance on accessing support from the Miramichi pay centre and even passing along to Treasury Board and other senior officials especially urgent cases we felt the government should expedite. As the month rolled on and no lasting solution to either members’ or students’ pay problems appeared evident, we continued to apply pressure to the government, especially as the end-of-August deadline for student tuition payments loomed.

On August 25, we wrote to Public Services and Procurement Canada, following Deputy Minister Marie Lemay’s then-most recent report on efforts taken to address Phoenix pay problems, and asked for details on the ministry’s progress dealing with student pay problems. We were informed that, as of August 24, 90% of student cases had been resolved and that by September 7 the remaining 10% would be settled.

We are very proud to have provided some small help to those students who have suffered as a result of the problems with the Phoenix pay system and hope that their experience has not soured them on hopes and ambitions of eventually pursuing a career in the federal public service.

We express our solidarity with these students and our very best wishes for their success in the coming year. We also of course express our hope that the federal government will soon recognize the lesson to be learned from outsourcing and under-resourcing basic public and employment services.

Better Together!

Debi Daviau